WXXV Student Athlete of the Week: Gulfport Powerlifter Jaedyn Leblanc
Toward the end of last week, powerlifting teams along the south side of the state gathered to compete for South State along with hopes of qualifying for the state championship.
A specific Gulfport Admiral not only won South State for his weight class, but also beat the state record.
The sport of powerlifting may not be the most popular amongst high schools, but schools all along the Gulf Coast are making a name for themselves in the Magnolia State. Kenneth Gordon said, “Powerlifting has made me more explosive, quicker, stronger in ways I couldn’t even imagine. I just thought it was going to make me stronger, but overall, it made me a better athlete.”
One specific team that stood out last week during the South State competition was the Gulfport boys powerlifting team.
Catching up with the South State champions, one word that the Admirals kept bringing up while discussing this honor was family. Matthew Christensen said, “I just really enjoy powerlifting. I think it’s a team sport and we all get along with each other so it’s all super fun coming to practice and winning as a team.”
Ladarius Jordan said, “It means a lot. It’s a family like I’ve never had a family close with me in my life. We’re all close and a family and stuff.”
One member of the team has high hopes for the program as just a sophomore. Hudson Williams said, “I’m hoping to win all four years that I’m in high school. We won it last year. I hope we win this year, but it’s like a legacy that we’re going to leave behind that nobody can take away from us.”
And the legacy of this Admiral powerlifting team will be talked about for years as they are currently on track to win their fifth state championship in six years.
One member of their team that has made an impact, not only on the Gulfport squad, but on the state as a whole is Jaedyn Leblanc, who only started his powerlifting journey two years ago. “Well, I tried a bunch of sports, and it was really the thing I liked the best and enjoyed the most. I was most passionate about it.”
That exact passion and motivation led him to pulling the all-time 181 state record of 670 pounds. “Well, it was my all-time goal, so it’s definitely a huge accomplishment.”
With the state championship coming up in April, Leblanc is already looking ahead toward breaking his own record. “I want to be the first 181 to pull 700 and that’d be breaking my own record so that’d be pretty cool.”